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tv   Headline News  RT  January 31, 2013 8:00pm-8:30pm EST

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he's the first man to speak out against enhanced interrogation tactics used by the cia he's been called a hero by human rights advocates classified as a villain by the government now ca whistleblower john kerry sits down with r.t. stay tuned for an interview you won't want to miss. and the u.s. economy takes a sharp turn down word in the fourth quarter of two thousand and twelve it was in the previous quarter a successful one coming up r.t. looks at accusations the bureau of labor statistics manipulated economic data to benefit president obama's reelection campaign the question is were you right or wrong that you're pretty straightforward questions well i would i would like to answer whether you are right or wrong then you are free to elaborate just a small piece of a very heated hearing chuck hagel is going on the d. thousands on capitol hill today as one congress member after another take shots at
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his readiness to leave the defense department a look at this a war of words coming up. thursday january thirty first i'm liz wall here in washington d.c. and you're watching r t we begin today taking a look at whistleblowers in america former cia agent john kiriakou was sentenced to thirty months in prison just a few days ago he struck a plea deal and admitted to revealing the identity of a covert officer to a reporter he was originally charged with violating the espionage act kiriakou was the first cia official to publicly confirm the use of waterboarding and other tactics he describes as torture under the bush administration but his supporters believe he's being unfairly targeted and punished for blowing the whistle on this government practice john kiriakou himself joins us now in one of his final interviews before he goes. the president along with jasmine radicals in his
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attorney really appreciate you both being here today in no time anything is of the essence for you want to start off by asking you about this plea deal that you struck with the government and what it is that you admitted to right i admitted to confirming the name of a former colleague to a journalist who was looking for former cia officers to interview for a book. plain and simple and this is a far cry to what the the prosecution was going after you for it of violating the espionage act doesn't it can you go into what that accusation means and what that entails sure yes a lot of people who are whistleblowers in fact six of them have been charged under the espionage act which is an antiquated war war world war one law meant to go after spies not whistleblowers and being charged under it means that you revealed national defense information with the intent to harm the united states or benefit
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a foreign nation now both of the cases so far that have completely dropped all espionage act charges or thomas drake and john kiriakou the espionage charges have completely gone away they've been used rather as a hammer to force people like john into a plea bargain now john of a these are very serious accusations brought against you know who yes. did you ever feel like you were putting anyone's life in danger oh no certainly not certainly not if if i had any inkling that there was a danger to anyone i would have never said anything about anybody but no this reporter was looking for someone to interview for a book former cia officers refer one another to journalists all the time for the purpose of books or interviews or documentaries and and the justice department used to to prosecute me and you were the first person to publicly
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disclose the use of torture that that this actually went on and you call that this practice of waterboarding and you called it torture this was revealed in an interview with a.b.c. back in two thousand and seven i believe we have that clip there. as time has passed and has as september eleventh has as you know has moved farther and farther back into history i think i've changed my mind and i think that waterboarding is probably something that we should be in the business of doing why do you say that. because we're americans and we're better than that. now john why did you decide to make this public that the government in fact uses its tactic of waterboarding and call it torture. because the bush administration more specifically president bush at the time was lying to the american people by saying that we were not waterboarding prisoners we were not torturing anyone and if anyone was being
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tortured it was a result of rogue officers inside the cia i said that not only were we torturing prisoners but this was an official u.s. government policy and it was approved by the president himself serious saying the use of torture air wasn't rare that it wasn't grained and policy correct it was ingrained in policy it was being done on a regular basis can you tell us more about this torture program that you expose the various techniques that are used sure there were a bunch of different techniques something like ten and they range from the benign for example a cia officer grabbing a prisoner by the lapels that was the most basic level technique going all the way up to some of the terrible things that you've heard of like waterboarding there were actually couple that i always thought were worse than waterboarding one was sleep deprivation and i don't mean sleep deprivation for forty eight hours i mean sleep deprivation for something like two weeks with no sleep with heavy metal music
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blasting into your cell. you actually lose your mind with that kind of sleep deprivation and some of these prisoners got to the point where they were unable to participate in their own defenses because they couldn't think straight for the lack of sleep another one was what was called the cold so they would put a prisoner into a cell that was chilled to fifty or fifty five degrees and then throw ice water on them every hour to just terrible treatment and to what end i'm there's no evidence that that any of these techniques ever resulted in actionable. teligent intelligence that that led to the disruption of a terrorist attack no evidence whatsoever not some of the prosecutors in this case so what they're saying is that you were seeking a by and by disclosing information and i was building a consulting business all they had to do was look at my ten forty my income tax return to show that i was broke that i got absolutely nothing out of going on
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a.b.c. news in two thousand and seven and blowing the whistle on torture absolutely nothing now will president obama he has vowed to have this transparent administration in here talking about this way to make government accountable does make it transparent so the american people can know exactly what decisions are being made made how they're being made and whether their interests are being well served. now how would you compare president obama has administration to the bush administration with the exception of the formal ban on torture i'm honestly not seeing a lot of difference between the obama administration in the bush administration except maybe that the obama administration has killed far more people using drones than the bush administration ever did but i've believed from just about the beginning of the obama presidency that this was really an extension of the bush
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counterterrorism policy there was nothing new and gentle and i know that you've worked with with whistleblowers what do you think how do you turn view president obama and compare that to the bush administration especially in light of him saying that his administration is going to be one that is transparent well first of all i should say that both john and i have voted for obama so this is not being an anti obama thing but obama took the bush secrecy regime and expanded that by an order of magnitude everything including classification numbers have gone up the number of people being targeted for assassination has gone up the actual number of people we've been killing has gone up instead of torturing people we're just blowing them off the face of the planet so i think it's gotten worse under obama it has been just stayed the same and his affirmatively gotten worse john i
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want to address what the judge said in this case when she handed you the sentence judge leoni brinkema she said i think thirty months is way too light she goes on to say that this is not a case of a whistleblower. certainly when i accepted the plea in october of two thousand and twelve judge brinkema commented at that time in open court that thirty months was if it was a fair and appropriate deal. she. i can only speculate of course but in january just last friday the courtroom was packed with reporters and she may have seen an opportunity to to look tough in a case like mine that's one point and the other point is and this is a point that just makes very well in a national security case the prosecution has the ability to have a private ex parte communication with the judge they did that in my case neither my
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lawyers nor i have any idea what the prosecutors said to the judge and they gave the judge a so-called victim impact statement that was classified top secret and that i was not permitted to see so i was not permitted to defend myself this was an ongoing theme through the course of my of my court case i was not permitted to defend myself so she she may have listened to whatever it was that the prosecutors told her and decided that thirty months was an appropriate she did say specifically that if she had the ability she would have given me ten years. so you think things are going on behind closed doors that are full i'm way too tenuous i'm positive there's a patent unfairness in the still secure decimally army much of the sentencing hearing in john's case was based around a secret document that neither the public nor the defendant john had access to
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and that i thought was what was behind her comments that had inflamed the sentencing penalty also the judge and the government don't get to decide who is a whistleblower one becomes a whistleblower through operation of law by disclosing abuse and illich galatea which is exactly what john did is that out of an armed as lynn said that's practice the judge holding these kinds of meetings behind closed doors you know it's always been allowed that the judge can hold an ex parte in camera meeting behind closed doors but what what is happening more and more is that in these cases involving so-called classified information a lot more of the court proceeding is taking place behind closed doors and hidden not only from the defendant but from the public at large to a much greater degree john do you feel like you're being used as an example perhaps as a warning to other western blowers oh yes and i think that the journalists will tell
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you that their national security sources have just dried up since my prosecution i think that's what the government's point was i think i think this case is much bigger than just john kiriakou it goes to freedom of speech and freedom of the press and i think there's a there's a real war on free speech right now. to that point you just said judge brinkema specifically said that she wanted to make an example of john kiriakou that she was trying to set and example by giving him that sentence i mean she specifically stated that now john you're facing thirty months behind martha and president. do you have any regrets now looking back on that my only regret is that i didn't hire an attorney before i blew the whistle on torture i wish i had done that but no. the one thing that i wanted most of all was for my children to be proud of me and i know that morally i did the right thing and my children are proud
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of me and that's the most important thing. do you when do you go to prison i'm going to prison some time in the next five to seven weeks ok i'm supposed to receive a letter from the bureau of prisons telling me the date that i'm to report in the the facility how many kids you know i have five kids and how are you and your family preparing it's hard. you have to worry about everything from a will to a power of attorney to child care. it's hard we couldn't get through without people like justin friends attorneys advisors supporters without without this community of people that's come out to help me i couldn't possibly have gotten through this well i really appreciate you coming on. before i know that you your time is very precious right now is here i'm really appreciate you coming on and telling us about everything that you both have been through that was former cia agent and
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whistleblower john kerry aku and also jasmine radek director of national security and human rights at the government accountability project the president obama is kicking off a second term after his inauguration last week he was reelected despite a less than stellar state of the economy but if you can recall the days that led up to the election third quarter data came out that reflected in economy in much better shape take a look you're looking at the quarter to quarter growth in the year two thousand and twelve and you see in the third quarter growth rises substantially these figures came out in those critical days before the election that in the fourth quarter post-election there is no growth in fact it's the first time the economy shrink sense two thousand and nine well for for something is all too much of a coincidence and believe the bureau of labor statistics manipulated the data to keep president obama in the white house could this really be the case to answer
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that question i was joined earlier by peter schiff president of euro pacific capital. i mean it would be the first time the government when it relates data but certainly if you look at the weakest quarter of the president's term basically occurring after he was reelected i mean some people might think that's too much a call of a coincidence specially since you had a big increase i think in government spending in the third quarter that was on wound in the fourth quarter so maybe the government had some leeway in accelerating some of those expenditures to kind of boost the g.d.p. in the third quarter and then we kind of equalized it in the fourth but even if you look at the entire year of two thousand and twelve it's very very weak g.d.p. growth and i actually think talking about manipulation i think the only reason that we had a positive number for g.d.p. in two thousand and twelve is because the government is under reporting inflation i think of the inflation rate accurately reported by government statistics i think
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the u.s. economy would have in fact contracted in two thousand and twelve i think it didn't contract is just that we're not being honest about it as you had mentioned much in the discrepancy in growth can be attributed to military spending it seems that there was kind of that splurging in the third quarter and then a pledge of defense spending later do you think that was intentional that balance and a tactic that they used. well it might have been but you know also our trade deficit got a lot bigger and that subtracted from g.d.p. that is a problem that's only going to get worse and you know think about this we've had a tax increase on everybody here in two thousand and thirteen so i'm eric is going to be paying higher taxes i think we're going to have a larger not smaller budget deficits so i think two thousand and twelve might be the high point of the obama term and you know obama often talked about the lousy economy he inherited from bush well now he's dealing with a lousy economy he inherited from himself and i think whoever succeeds succeeds
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bush i mean obama the next president is going. actually inherit a worse economy than either did in his first term i think the obama recession is going to be much worse than the obama recovery and you know the obama recovery has been the weakest recovery ever you can imagine how bad the recession is going to be that's certainly a scary thought for a lot of people that are hoping and praying that we do not have another recession like the one that we just got out of i know you think that's debatable whether or not we got out of that i want to ask i don't i don't think it'll be that i don't think it'll be like that one i think it's going to be worse i want to i think the u.s. is in worse economic shape we've dug ourselves into a bigger hole since two thousand and eight the next crisis is going to be one where the dollar tanks and bombed and bond prices fall and that's could be a much bigger collapse i think the bursting of the dollar bubble and the bond bubble has much more dire consequences for the u.s. economy than the bursting of the real estate bubble and when i ask you something
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else that kind of makes this timely way where the. obama administration complained to you as a possible reasoning behind that spike and slump it was all this hype surrounding seaquest ration these across the board government cuts and many government agencies were tightening their belts preparing for this so that explanation for the shrinking economy the anticipation of these cuts. now that's raising spin to a whole other level there's no way that the possibility of shrinking the deficit is what caused the numbers to be weak if we actually did shrink the deficit if we actually did reduce government spending that would be a net positive for the economy because the government is draining the economy of the resources that it needs to grow unfortunately we didn't get that government spending is in is going up they've basically suspended the debt ceiling so that's not going to restrain us any more they're going to cancel all the spending cuts i'm
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afraid they're going to use the weak fourth quarter g.d.p. as justification for cancelling the spending cuts and so the governor's going to keep on spending the fed is going to keep on printing to monetize the growing deficit and we're marching towards a real economic crisis the united states where the dollar is going to plunge and that's going to send prices and interest rates that america's soaring there i want to ask i want to point out this other justification that the white house is using the white house also blame superstorm sandy for shrinking the economy natural disaster as as we know also disastrous for the economy and also out of the government's hands right. well look the government's going to blame everybody but themselves why doesn't the obama administration take a look in the mirror if they want to know why the economy is struggling and believe me it's going to get a lot worse because we still have all this money that we borrowed that we have to deal with always did during the obama purse term is spend more borrowed money now the bills are going to come do we planted all these seeds of destruction that are
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going to germinate in the second term plus we're actually going to have to start paying for obama care and other programs that were launched in his first term but are kicking in a second so there are people who think that this is going to be we're obama could really write his legacy because he doesn't have to deal with a bad economy anymore he's going to be trying to fight off this recession which is going to be worse than the one that he inherited now peter we only have about thirty seconds left i do want to point this out though because it sounds like you have a very pessimistic view a gloomy view of what's to come i want to mention though that the stock market has surged more than six percent this year breaking a record that's a good sign and fifteen seconds or less and for all the wall street has a pretty good track record of getting it wrong you know the stock market was rallying right before the bottom dropped out in two thousand and eight so the big people of that run money major players on wall street and around the world are really clueless with respect to the true financial position in the economic health
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of the united states i don't doubt that that they that they get it wrong they typically do but at the end of the day stock price might be going up but it's only because money is losing value in those governments around the world they're creating inflation and debasing their currencies that's what's going on all right peter a it's a lot i hate to cut you off there and where at a time unfortunately about a great audience as peter schiff president of euro pacific capital of the u.s. senate how the hearing today on one of president obama's most controversial choices for a key job on his team chuck hagel had his senate confirmation hearing on capitol hill to be the next secretary of defense and he was grilled on everything from relations with israel and the arab world to his view of women in the military. can't is going to have more on that story in a moment but we're going to turn to another story right now in a has to do with the sex scandal here originated in washington d.c.
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many people call las vegas the city of sin but perhaps you should look here in washington d.c. for the scandal another legislator has been embroiled in a sex scandal this time democratic new jersey senator robert menendez the newly named chair of the senate foreign relations committee allegations. i have been and as consorting with prostitutes in the dominican republic first emerged on the daily caller a conservative site right before election day but the accusations reached a fever pitch when the f.b.i. on tuesday raided the offices of a prominent democratic donor and eye surgeon in south florida the miami herald reports that the federal raid was in relation to medicare fraud but it shines a light on the relationship between the doctor and the senator this is dr solomon well again who allegedly flew in and as to the dominican republic multiple times in two thousand and ten earlier this month senator menendez sent the doctor
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a personal check for more than fifty eight thousand dollars to reimburse the cost of the flights this is according to his office but despite these issues with ethics of greater concern is what mendez did and that island nation once he landed there an anonymous tipster alerted the f.b.i. that the men spent nights with prostitutes now prostitution is legal in the dominican republican the senator is divorced but the real scandal is the accusation that some of the prostitutes menendez consorted with were under age as young as sixteen years old one anonymous woman claims that she began having sex with melendez around the time of her seventeenth birthday additionally it is legal for legislators to conduct activity against u.s. laws in other countries where the senator vigorously denies these claims so who's lying we'll let you know as soon as we do. now back to this
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story the u.s. senate today held a hearing for the next secretary of defense he was grilled on everything from israel to women in the military and guy entity can has more on that. ok go bent backwards to show how mainstream his views are the senators kept accusing him of not being mainstream enough and they kept using the word mainstream over and over again during this hearing chuck hagel has walked back on a number of positions he had taken earlier he kept apologizing again and again and chuck hagel went to great lengths to show that he is in no way going to challenge washington's core foreign policy beliefs as one of the senators put it it was quite an exhausting hearing considering the senators were asking almost the same questions and roughly eighty percent of them had to do with chuck hagel previous statements on israel and iran there was so much mentioning of israel that at some point they were confirming him as secretary of defense for israel i couldn't count
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how many times he said all options are on the table with regards to iran again and again saying a strike on iran is an option an option that he had previously called irresponsible by the way here's what chuck hagel kept repeating throughout the hearing get the united nations behind you get the international sanctions behind you keep military options on the table if the military option is the only option it's the only option one of the senators pointed out during the hearing that in a private conversation senator hagel recently told him that he thought sanctions didn't work and previously chuck hagel voted against sanctions but today's chuck hagel as we found out during this hearing is for sanctions to those who believe mr haye go was in favor of direct negotiations with iran as he had previously claimed he was he offered a correction a very vague one he tried to blur his response as much as he could here's what he said i don't have a problem with engaging i think great powers engaging engagement is clearly in our
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interest that's not negotiation engagement is not appeasement engagement not sure anger so no direct negotiations with iran here's another example of how chuck hagel had to walk back on some of his preview. statements at one time he said and this is become a famous quote the political reality is that the jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here i've always argued against some of the dumb things they do because i don't think it's in the interest of is world and of quote here's chuck hagel during this confirmation hearing noted that i. did i should have used another term and i'm sorry and i regret i mean do your use of intimidation. i should have used influence. i think would have been more appropriate i should not have said dumb or stupid. because i understand appreciate there are different views in these things it was like torture watching
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the hearing because it seemed as if the senators were not there to question chuck hagel but they were there to break him because they kept going back to his previous statements and pushing and pushing until he said what they wanted to hear and he did it so whoever thought chuck hagel was going to offer a new outlook on u.s. foreign policy after this hearing would seriously doubt that. that was already international correspondent guy and as you can. tell in mali there is a growing concern over how french and local forces are handling the fight against islamic militants and we managed to get an exclusive footage of their alleged atrocities and spoke to a local journalist gonzalo wanta about it. eleven so they lost but our. troops are making progress much faster than expected of them and we are now in say north of town but now it's a military and says area safe and secure as a local authorities say that additionally the road is monitored by an american drone strike in the night their corps there is
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a strict overnight traffic curfew in place to ensure the security of the population and yet it is their own security that are concerned with the french in mali and shrimps that. the basis of smell it should be noted that the malley and troops in question had actually fled the country's north when islam missed took power by pulling off in the capital city as you know march two thousand and twelve this explains why the countries i'm not trust or support of this ability populations don't besides as we continue to. find evidence of war crime we have heard of the murder of a few save our citizens by the soldiers not only did they kill them i mean the bodies into the drinking water well located in the center of the town making the rest of the population was also there really an extrajudicial killing as if you know for instance a sixteen year old soldier called adama. accused of terrorism but according to his
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words. for one since he had you know west africa. in so far i met an old man you know i asked him for a drink of water and then we asked him about war he said that he won't share water with terrorists and i said that i wasn't a terrorist and i was just thirsty and since i was wearing them or what uniform they took me to prison. i didn't know that there was working with more. only realize that. and then when everyone went on. i was just cooking food for them no one even talked to me. these are just a few cases of the you know war crimes and persecution and although many of you say it's not true other arabs and iterates are still being persecuted on charges of allegedly collaborating with al qaida it's our contacts in timbuktu have them informed us that many shops to go into arabs have been looted. and that was local journalist gonzalo.

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